Les Siecles Francois Xavier Roth (detail) View full image

François-Xavier Roth awarded for ‘setting new standards’

François-Xavier Roth has been awarded the Honorary Prize of the German Record Critics’ Association. He is the youngest conductor ever to receive it, of an illustrious group that includes Günter Wand, Pierre Boulez, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Herbert Blomstedt.

In making the award, the jury wrote: ‘A conductor who specialises in being a universalist: this sounds contradictory, but is consistent if you are as versatile, alert and active as François-Xavier Roth. Popular as well as successful, he sets new trends season after season as Cologne’s General Music Director and Gürzenich’s Chief Conductor. The French period-ensemble Les Siècles, which he founded, has also led him to international success … His recordings cannot be listened to casually because they are so special … And with every project he tackles, Roth sets new standards.’

Roth said of the prize: ‘I am extremely honoured and grateful to receive this prestigious prize; I share it with all the musicians and staff of Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and Les Siècles.’

The German Record Critics’ Association is made up of 160 members who are active in assessing recorded music. Its annual awards are made to people from the music world who ‘set new standards in their respective spheres of activity and at the same time stand up for the record as a cultural asset’. This year’s other recipients are musicologist Alberto Basso and rapper–songwriter Moses Pelham, and mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender won the Nightingale Award.

Roth is about to present his new project with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, with a programme of works by Beethoven intertwined with modern classics and specially written music, all brought together through staging and lighting, with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard the soloist. The first concert of the project and European tour is on Sunday 9 February.